I showed up a tad early at the gym today for my training session and watched the salsa dance class. It was obvious the group had learned the routine previously; they went from song to song with zero instruction. There was one unbelievably graceful woman my eye was first drawn to; she moved so smoothly and precisely. She never missed a beat. But as I looked more around, what else I saw was a lot more interesting. A guy in his mid-40s with a full on permagrin on his mug the whole time. He was obviously having the time of his life. Did he care that he wasn't doing it perfect? No. He was having a blast. I also saw a woman there in her 60s and she knew all the moves. She wasn't concerned about looking elegant or extending her arms the right way. She was doing it anyway.

I thought about that a lot as I watched her for a while (my trainer was a bit late) and thought, I want to be that woman. Fearless at 60. Throwing caution to the wind and not caring what people think about me, but completely confident in my self and choices.

Then I thought, hey. You don't get there overnight. You can start living that life now. Then I realized THIS is where I want to take this blog. Inching my way towards being that lady, carefree and not self-conscious. Journaling the steps I'm taking to get there.

You see in all my ramblings about my weight, my hair, my body, what it all comes down to is I want to feel FREE of caring what other people think. Free of my own unrealistic expectations of who I am supposed to be, and all the confines that come with that. Free of other's expectations of me and my incessant need to be everything THEY want me to be. Rather than being motivated by fear of what I should be, move forward by what my heart tells me WHAT I AM.

It starts with small things. Realizing where I am, and not feeling confined by it. Dreaming big. Today after I had my bodyfat measured, I was feeling fat. The numbers said it, didn't they? So that must be what I am. I am fat and the gym is no place for me. I struggled through the warmup and told my trainer I was discouraged. He didn't coddle me or do some insane Jillian screaming in my face. He just said quietly, "that's ok. Keep going."

I did. One of the movements we did required my shirt to show a bit of my belly (damn jumps!) and I thought, I have to cover my belly, it has so many stretch marks and jiggles and I don't want anyone to see it and eeek know that I might not have a flat belly under there. Newsflash #1: people probably already know that. #2 WHO CARES WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.

And I thought, this. THIS RIGHT HERE HEATHER LEE, is where it starts. Right here. Saying NO to being unrealistic in the smallest of ways until it's natural. Being uncomfortable but free. Being braver every day.

So I let my belly show. While jumping. I didn't care. Everyone has a starting place.

I'll be posting here about ways I've been a bit braver. Ways I'm facing my fears. Some of it entails relationships, so I won't be sharing the nitty gritty details, but I will be sharing the lessons I learned and why it was big for me. I suspect each time my answers will be: because I thought I had to/should.

When I was about 8, I remember I was obsessed with Eleanor Roosevelt. How fitting that one of my favorite quotes -- it sits on my refrigerator and I say it to myself every day when I'm really feeling pressured is this:

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. - Eleanor Roosevelt

I've posted it up above as well to help remind me too. I have some others on my fridge. I'll share those as I post this week.


  1. You're awesome. So awesome.
    You'll get there sooner than you think

  2. Oh Amy thank you so much!

  3. I have this part of the quote, framed in my kitchen-You must do the thing you think you cannot do. With a little picture of my little murphy tucked into the side. I didn't put his photo there consciously, but it is fitting.

    Just be you.

    Oh, by the way, those salsa/zumba classes will get you to "who cares what I look like" faster than you think!! Trust me. I have taken a few Zumba classes (and Jazzercise) and they are just hilariously fun. There are always some in the class who look incredible. That would not be me. I just laugh and sweat the whole way through. Try a class. It may set you free...

  4. This was a great post. Sometimes the most basic revelations are the most eye opening. Cheers to you and thanks for sharing.

  5. Great Post! You are awesome

  6. Thanks everyone! Julie, you are absolutely right. I went to hip hop class a few weeks ago and LOVED IT but felt like such an ass so I didn't go back. I should. I think I will on Saturday. :)

  7. Rachel6:24 PM

    I'm glad you're back! I've been thinking of going to zumba, but I have no rhythm and am self conscious. If you go, I'll go!

  8. Hooray! Forgetting what people may say and doing your own thing is tough. But you never get anywhere satisfying when you choose the path of least resistance. We are all works in progress in our own way.

  9. Thanks ladies! I'm happy to be back!


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